Looking for a new rental home is a necessarily complex process. This is going to be your home for a long period of time, so it’s important that it meets your standards or needs. This will involve looking at a broad range of criteria, including some features that you might not consider as you tour the home. This guide will help you make a list of things to look for to ensure your new rental home is as ideal for your family as possible.

Determine What You Can Pay for a Rental Home

In searching for your new rental home, the first thing to do is to determine what you can afford to pay in rent. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to limit your rent to 30% of your total monthly income. However, you may need to find something a little cheaper to fit it into your budget. In addition to rent, make sure your budget provides enough money to cover utilities, cable and internet, and other household necessities. It’s also a good idea to consider renter’s insurance to ensure your belongings will be protected.

Research Pet Policies

Even if you don’t currently have pets, asking about each rental property’s pet policy may still be important. If you have allergies or you’re afraid of dogs, you may want to choose a property that doesn’t allow pets. Conversely, if you do have a pet or plan on getting one, it becomes more important to ask about pet policies. In addition to finding out if pets are permitted, be sure to ask about any breed or weight restrictions. You should also find out how much you’ll be expected to pay as a pet deposit and for a monthly pet rent. Gathering this information ahead of time will save you from getting into difficult situations later.

Look for Important Features

After you have narrowed down your search to those within your budget and meeting your pet requirements, you’re probably ready to begin taking tours. As you tour each rental property, look for the amenities and features that are most important to your family. If you have young children, you may want to ensure outdoor play areas are gated and safe. If you live in a more moderate climate, looking for a property that has a fireplace can help you save on winter energy usage. More features to consider adding to your list may include swimming pools, extra bathrooms, balconies and patios, and outdoor grilling areas.

Research the Location Around the Rental Home

When searching for a house for rent in Salinas, you should also look beyond the property lines to see what the community has to offer. Is there a bus stop near the rental property? This may be important if you have children or if your own car breaks down. Having nearby access to a bus stop can save from having to spend more money on taxis to get around town. You should also look for other community services within a short distance from the property, including:

  • Libraries
  • Post Offices
  • Banks
  • Grocery stores
  • Public parks

Investigate the Night Life

Typically, you’ll be touring houses for rent in Salinas during the afternoon or early evening hours when the sun is still shining bright. While this helps you see the features of each property a little better, it won’t give you a good impression of evening activity in the community. You’ll want to be sure the area is safe at night, especially if you have children and want to keep them safe.

By visiting the property or driving around the neighborhood at night, you can get a better idea of the character of the neighborhood. More activity at night indicates that residents feel safer in their community. You should see a good mix of young and older neighbors outdoors in the evening hours as an indication that it’s a low crime area. It may also be helpful to stop and talk to a few of the residents in the area. Talking to other parents who live nearby can help you get a better impression of crime, schools, and other important neighborhood factors.

Know Where to Look for the Right Rental Home

You can start your home search online, but it’s also helpful to drive around town to find properties that may not be listed online. Often, a property owner will put a rental sign out in front of the property or post notices on a community bulletin board in a nearby grocery store. This is done to attract local families rather than making the property available to people from outside the community. When searching for a rental home, expand your search beyond online listings to find hidden gems in your city. If you want to move into a specific neighborhood, taking a drive through that area can help you pinpoint properties that are available in those communities.

Let a Real Estate Agent Do the Work

Searching for a new home to rent is also a very time-consuming process, which is just one reason putting your search in the hands of an agent can be beneficial. While you’re busy at work or caring for your children, your agent will be doing their job. This can include keeping an eye out for new rentals that meet your specifications. This narrows down the time you spend considering properties that don’t match your family’s needs. Additionally, an established agent will be familiar with the local real estate market, and they may know of properties that are just coming onto the market. They can help you find your home that much faster so you can focus your energy on planning your move.

Bringing a list of “must haves” with you as you tour rental units can help you make a better choice. It’s easy to fall in love with a unit and forget what you’re looking for on the spot, buy keeping a list to consult will help you keep your mind focused on your family needs. This will help you choose a rental that’s beautiful and meets all of your family’s needs.